“A smart and engaging way of displaying data that enables users—through the lens metaphor—to get visibility of what’s happening in the different areas of the world and see the surprising results when the focus of two users overlap.” —juror Fanny Krivoy
“I appreciate the playful interpretation of NASA’s complex planetary data as well-designed, compelling, rich data visualizations.” —juror Jason White
Overview: When the visitor center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center called upon Bluecadet to help it interpret and present scientific data to the general public, the Philadelphia-based digital agency knew that the experience had to be digestible and fun. After all, who wants to sift through intimidating statistics to discover the answers to questions like “How does water move around Earth?” So Bluecadet created an interactive tool that transforms powerful data sets into rich data visualizations. The experience, called Data Lens, invites visitors to explore, compare and juxtapose Earth’s air, water and life systems. Visitors can follow dust particles from the Sahara to the Amazon, observe waves of phytoplankton blooms and watch the changing of seasons from the vantage of space—all with the swipe of a finger.
• NASA employs thousands of scientists, engineers and technologists who focus on advancing humanity’s understanding of the Earth as an environmental system.
• Data Lens is located in the Neighborhood Earth exhibit at the Goddard Visitor Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
• The project was built using custom software developed in Cinder, a C++ library.
Comments by Peter Hall, senior producer, Bluecadet:
What are the project’s core features? “Data Lens invites visitors to explore the interconnections between Earth’s air, water and life systems while conveying the magnitude and complexity of NASA’s work toward understanding our planet.”
Describe any special interactive features. “Guests can combine lenses to reveal new stories and insights, evidencing the power and beauty found when layering these powerful data sets.”
What was the thinking behind the navigational structure? “The experience takes what might otherwise be daunting scientific data and renders it as compelling and playful. By exploring and engaging with these visualizations, visitors not only discover the interplay among our planet’s systems, but also experience a sense of awe and a better understanding of the way our world works.”